In the summer when basil is so abundant , instead of the usual pesto, why not try making something different? Basil Ice-Cream from Claudia Fleming, the former pastry chef at Gramercy Tavern in NYC may just be the perfect choice.
Basil Ice Cream
Start by making a simple sugar syrup
1-1/2 cups water to 2 cups sugar
Bring to a simmer in a saucepan to dissolve the sugar. Set aside to cool.
Fill a small bowl with ice water and set aside.
Blanch 2-1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves in a pan of simmering water for 30 seconds.
Remove the basil with a slotted spoon and quickly plunge into the ice water to retain their vibrant green color.
Drain the leaves, lay them out on a paper towel, and blot to remove the excess water.
Puree the basil in a blender with 1/4 cup of the simple syrup. Set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, combine 3 cups milk, 1 cup cream, and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring to a simmer.
In a bowl, whisk together 12 egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar. Remove the milk mixture from the heat and add a little to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep the yolks from curdling. Pour the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk a little at a time, whisking as you pour.
Return the custard to the stove and cook it over low heat, stirring constantly.
Cook until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Let cool completely and then stir in the basil puree.
Strain the custard. Mix in 1/2 T. vanilla and a pinch of salt.
Chill for about 4 hours.
Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Yield: 1 Quart
Tastes like summer!